Sunday, March 29, 2015

Brocks Pond Falls - The Movie

On Saturday were were promised a forecast of snow, freezing ran and rain.  Not the most pleasant of days for a paddle but I was determined to get on the water.  Clyde, Dean, Neville, Terry and I met in St. Philips for a short paddle.  St. Philips was picked because it was close and if the weather did turn to crap we had the refuge of the restaurant and warm coffee close at hand.

It turned out the inclement weather stayed away so we kept going past Portugal Cove to Brocks Pond Falls on a day that had no wind and flat calm water.  It was a relaxed day checking out passages where they occurred.

The video is a short, less than 4 minute, combination of excerpts from our paddle.  Here's a link to YouTube.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Brocks Pond Falls, a repeat performance

The forecast for Saturday was snow, freezing rain and rain.  Not very appealing so I suggested a short paddle close by just to get on the water.  I checked the forecast again before leaving; it had not changed.  As I left for St. Philips it was very foggy but on the water it was clear and calm.

It was spring like.  A lot of snow has melted in recent rains but the massive icicles still survive.

Approaching Portugal Cove the fog hung over the cliffs to the north.

An hour into our paddle and no sign of the inclement weather that was predicted.

Terry checks out this overhanging icicle that was dripping copious water.  I'd like to be around when that comes down but not just then.

We were prepared to paddle in snow, freezing rain and rain but we could not believe our luck so we kept paddling north on ...

... flat calm waters along a coast Dean, Gerard and I paddled last weekend to the same destination of ...

... Brocks Pond Falls.  This weekend the falls were a flowing torrent after the recent rain and milder tempertures.

Checking out the falls up close and personal.

And, why not grab a selfie while I'm at it!

Neville gives a two thumbs up for the day.  A proposed short paddle in crappy weather turned out to be a most enjoyable, easy going paddle.  We had no plans to retrace our paddle of last weekend but as the freezing rain did not materialize, we just kept going.  Chaulk up another 20 kms.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

GoPro extendable pole

In between weekends when we paddle these days I'm toying with GoPro mounts.  This post is to describe my extendable pole.

Above left to right are: 1) end cap for 3/4 inch PVC pipe drilled and tapped out for good measure to accept a 1/4 - 20 x 1/2 inch stainless steel bolt; 2) the 1/2 inch bolt is too long so I used a hole saw to cut a plastic washer to insert inside the cap.  It was too big coming out of the hole saw so I secured it to a bolt that I inserted into my drill press, turned on and sanded down to the correct size; 3) the 1/4 - 20 x 1/2 in bolt the camera mount screws into; 4) a rubber washer that sits on top of the cap.  The rubber is to provide a "softer" surface for the mount.

A 29 inch window wash squeege extendable pole with squeege removed.  Cutting off the threads left just the right size for ...

... epoxying on a 3/4 90 degree elbow.

The pole with the end cap and quick release camera mount.  When you buy the camera mount you get ...

... two mounts.  I used the quick release so that I can point the cmera away to shoot video or have it point towards me to video myself.

And, here is the finished product.  Its 29 inches long but extends out to 47.  The pole itself was $11.99, the elbow, cap and bolt about $2.00 for like $14.00.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Brock's Pond Falls, part 2

After checking out Brock's Pond Falls we turned south to return the 10 kms to the put-in.  The light wind which was behind us on the way up was now in our faces.

It was only a light wind which was forecasted to increase slightly but ...

... it didn't happen.  As we were pulled out at Portugal Cove for a short break after almost three hours in the kayaks the wind completely dropped and the sea went flat calm.

The sun overpowered the camera and ...

... illuminated the shallow water that Gerard floated on.

Seeing the channel at Sailing Point from the other direction.

Gerard on a calm sea under clear sunny skies.

It was another fine day on the water coming to a close as we were almost back at St. Philips.  The sun and drop in wind made it peasant to get into our street clothes and stow away our gear before going for our customary coffee.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The first full day of spring

Spring came in here at 8:15 pm on Friday, March 20.

I got up (Saturday morning) to check the weather.  It was -9C and -13C with the windchill.

I checked the calendar.  Yup, March 21st.  The calendar said spring but Mother Nature said "Not so fast Tony.  You're not done winter weather yet."

Dean, Gerard and I met at 9:00 to paddle to Brock's Pond Falls to check out how much ice was at the falls.

Did I mention it was spring?

We paddled north in the shade of the cliffs.  It was brilliantly sunny but we were in the chilly shadow as we paddled through Sailing Point.

High tide opened up paddling access to all the rocky places.

At Beachy Cove the hills were lower and we were in bright sunshine until we reached ...

... Wester Point at the entrance to Portugal Cove where we were again in shade.

Across Portugal Cove the 650 foot tall cliffs were bathed in sunshine.  Our objective was in sight.

A total snowfall of about 50 cms in the past week covered the frozen falls but where it was open we could see and hear the water running.  The falls flow out of Brock's Head Pond cascading 325 feet into the sea.  Today, the falls looked more like a ski hill.

Two weeks ago Sean biked to the top of the falls for a different perspective.

There's nowhere to take out so we bobbed at the falls for a short period before beginning our return.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Breaking ice in Tors Cove

On Sunday Dean, Gerard and I were in Tors Cove for a paddle.  Driving to Tors Cove we passed the communities of Bay Bulls, Witless Bay and Mobile.  Looking out across the sea it appeared to be well frozen.  We weren't sure if we were going to be able to put in for a paddle.

We arrived at Tors Cove to find areas of open water, a skim of ice covered water and more heavily frozen over water.  We figured we were there so may as well give it a go.

Here's a short 4 minute video, snippets from the day.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A GoPro foredeck camera mount

When you buy a GoPro it comes mounted on a 4 x 4 inch plastic plate with a quick release molded into it.  I've been wondering how I could use it and finally settled on this configuration.

I epoxied it to a slightly larger piece of plexiglass, glued on a piece of rubber on the underside, drilled four holes in the corner and tied a length of line in each corner.

I epoxied the mount to one side of the plex so that when tied to the foredeck the camera mounted neat the center line of the kayak.  The four corners are tied to the decklines.  The rubber glued to the bottom keeps the plex from scratching the deck.  Why I'm worried about that I can't say for sure!

Here it is in action.  Easy to reach and operate the camera but next time I'll tie it on a little further ahead.  I'm still getting the paddle tips flashing in and out of the video, which I don't like.

The only issue I see with the mount is where it is secured so far back from the bow there's a lot of deck in the video.  I will put together another mount that will be a bit taller.  It may then have to be mounted further forward and out of reach so as not to interfere with the paddling motion.

So far I've tried the helmet mount.  There are control issues when wearing neoprene mitts.  This was a good idea and can easily be mounted further forward, even on the hatch cover.

I intend to use a number of different mounts and vantage points to add interest to video compilations.  Video of the Tors Cove paddle in now in the editing room *lol*

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Breaking the ice in Tors Cove

Today we three, Dean, Gerard and myself, met in Bay Bulls and drove to Tors Cove.  As we climbed the road on the south side we were looking down on the water that was frozen well out into the bay.  I had my doubts if Tors Cove would have open water.  We were surprised we were able to put in but there was a thin skim of ice.  We figured we were there so may as well give it a go.

On the east side of Fox Island the water was open.  It was cold but sunny and the wind and water were absolutely still.

It was glorious paddling as we made our way out to Great Island.  As we approached ...

... we found our approach blocked by ice.  We gave it a good go but the closer we got the thicker the ice became.  We gave up on our objective and ...

... pulled ourselves through the slobby ice back towards shore where we could see open water ...

... which reluctantly let us pass.  My GoPro developed miniature icicles!

We did get into more open water and explored along shore.

We made good use of the open water but were stopped again at Bauline East.  Our paddle south stopped we turned north towards ...

... Ship Island occasionally driving ourselves over floating sheets of ice on our way towards ...

... a takeout on Ship Island for a snack and to answer the call of nature.  We had paddled up to that point approximately 10 kms, a paltry distance.  We discussed our options and decided to follow the open water where we could around the islands on our way back to Tors Cove.

Coming around the south end of Fox Island.  We went completely around before ...

... ending our day back on the beach.  The forecasted east wind had blown the slobby ice into the cove.

It seemed like we didn't go anywhere but we did clock almost 16 kms.  About half of that we figured we should get credit for double, at least in terms of effort.

Spring is a week away but its arrival today looked like its still a long way over the horizon.  Meh, we'll paddle anyway next weekend if at all possible.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Taking a still from GoPro video

One of the benefits of the GoPro that appealed to me was the ability to extract still photos from the video.  It allows me to have stills of action in gnarly conditions when it might not be wise to take out a camera for a shot.

The instructions from the GoPro website states:

"How to Create a Still Image from Video Using GoPro Studio 

You can easily export a still image from your video file using GoPro Studio. Here is a procedure that details the process:

  1. Go to Step 2: Edit
  2. Select the desired video clip so that it is displayed in the Player window.
  3. Mac instructions - Place the playhead so that the frame you want to export is displayed in the player window, then selecting Share > Export Still.
  4. Windows Instructions - Place the playhead so that the frame you want to export is displayed in the player window, then selecting File > Export > Still Image.
  5. Then just select the image Name, Location and Size to Export (small, medium, large, & native) and click Export."

The only thing I found a bit confusing was Studio2 didn't see my videos where I downloaded them to a folder I created to receive the files.  Seems GoPro also downloaded the videos to the "My Videos" folder and navigating there the above instructions worked fine.

It is also possible to extract stills from the video during the editing of video by starting at Step 1 in Studio2.

P.S. I should have said to chose the "Blank Template" to get around the stock templates supplied by GoPro so you can get to the export picture phase.  I found that a bit confusing at first.